We have fans: one ceiling, two good Vornados, and two window units made in a country where, apparently, there are engineers who have mastered the art of designing blades that spin but do not propel air. We (usually) get a breeze off the river, though that doesn't help much at 97 degrees and 95% humidity. But on a day like today, even the thought of moving air counts.
* * * * *Years ago, straight out of college, I lived in Puerto Rico. On the hot, humid weekends of summer I took cold showers and lay under my ceiling fan until I awoke from the nap I hadn't known I'd taken. Then I'd get up to shower and fall asleep again. I had weird dreams, the sort that ended with falling in a puddle. I took to sleeping on a beach towel to absorb the sweat.
Once I awoke from a mid-afternoon nap and discovered a swarm of large, black ants on the floor, thousands of them. Not knowing what else to do, I grabbed my broom and swept them out the door. Despite my subsequent nightmares, they never came back.
But the little lizards -- the ones whose tails snapped off into wriggling question marks that wondered Where did my body go? -- they returned every day.
Once on a hazy weekend I went snorkeling on a reef with an acquaintance. Our inflatable boat came unmoored, and we had to swim half a mile after it across a bay where sharks were known to prowl. I do not recall being hot on that day, only terrified. Never swam faster in my life, though.
And as I sit in my city apartment, drowsing my way through this hot day, I play a game: Would you rather swim with sharks, or swelter your way through July without air conditioning?